Thank you to our Sponsors: UW-Oshkosh, National Insurance Services, Culver’s VIP Foundation, Farmers Union, CESA Foundation, Forecast5, PMA, Meemic, Wisconsin Digital Learning Collaborative, Jostens and WEA Members Benefits

The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your continued efforts in talking with Legislators on the budget and referendum bills, your voices are making a difference. Continue your efforts as now is not the time to be silent. We must continue to be heard right up to any vote. I will continue to monitor and alert you to any changes.

WiRSA Conference Call for Presentations
The call for presentations for this year’s annual WiRSA Conference (Oct. 30-31) to be held at the Glacier Canyon Lodge in Wisconsin Dells is now open. The WiRSA Planning Committee is seeking proposals for sessions that share best practices, solutions and research in and outside our rural classrooms.
We encourage you to share the great programs you are providing. Examples, but not limited to, teacher professional development, early literacy, innovative classroom practices, collaborative efforts within a school or with other schools and the use of technology.
To submit a proposal, complete this form by the submission deadline of June 23, 2017.

Upcoming Legislative Hearings
May 9 and 11 – Joint Committee on Finance Executive Session. Please note Education has not been scheduled yet.

Charter school company abruptly leaves UACB Webster; third MPS school in six months.
Interesting article on how non-student centered these private charter school providers are when they abruptly close the doors on students in the middle of the year – leaving MPS to pick up the ball and unexpected addition to their budget.

From the NREA – Vouchers can’t make rural schools great again
This is a great editorial out of Indiana by Jill Long Thompson.

REL Webinar: How to Equip Parents to Support Kindergarten Readiness

Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest and its Early Childhood Education Research Alliance invites you to a free webinar on research-based strategies to help parents prepare their children for kindergarten.

Beyond mastering academic content, research indicates that children need to develop skills like social and emotional awareness, self-control, and critical thinking to succeed in school. This webinar will explore the role parents play in helping children build these nonacademic skills before kindergarten.

Presenters will also discuss trauma-informed care, which encourages healthy social and emotional development in children who have been affected by traumatic circumstances.

Speakers:

• Spring Dawson-McClure, Ph.D., Center of Early Childhood Health and Development, NYU School of Medicine

• Kimberly Mann, Ph.D., Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

• Valerie Young, Illinois Head Start Association

This webinar is designed for early childhood education program teachers and administrators, LEA and SEA staff focused on early childhood, and education researchers. If you cannot attend the live event, register at the link below to be notified when a recording of the webinar is available online.

May 17, 2017

12:00–1:00 p.m. CT

Register here

NREA May Advocacy Update

FY17 Budget: Congress agreed to a final spending bill for FY17, the federal dollars that will be in schools for the 17-18 school year. The bill is not good, but it is about as good as Congress can do given the current funding environment. AASA did not endorse the bill, given deep concerns we have with proposed cuts and inadequate funding to core programs, but we did not oppose the bill either, given that the bill was bipartisan and as good as Congress could do given the current funding caps (We can have an entirely separate conversation on how Congress alone can address the cap issue….they put the caps into place, they can resolve them.) But, for purposes for FY17, we were neutral on the bill, highlighting the good as well as the bad, and delivering a clear message that FY18 has to be better. The bill passed the House on May 3 and is being voted on in the Senate on May 4 (May the 4th be with you…..) Read the AASA letter.

Quick Summary of Education impacts in FY17 omnibus

• Provides $66.9 billion for USED (accounting for Pell rescission), a $1.1 b cut from FY16 ESSA

• Title I increase of $550 million (includes $450 m from SIG consolidation and $100 m in new funding; will still leave school districts short $100 m for ESSA implementation)

• Title II is cut by $294 m (13%)

• Title IV is funded at $400 m, and states can choose to run it competitively

• IDEA receives $90 m increase (Federal share just over 16%)

• Impact Aid increase $23 m

• 21st Century Community Learning Centers increase $25 m

• Head Start increase $85 million

• Includes reauthorization of DC voucher program

• Does NOT include funding for Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program

• ACHA: The House passed the bill to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act on May 4. Here’s the latest call to action, which includes the priority members (those that are leaning no). While the bill passed the House, advocacy can sway that and we need to keep the pressure on for the Senate vote. Details on the blog.

• Perkins Career Tech: The House today introduced its bill to reauthorize the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Called the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill is sponsored by Rep Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). Other sponsors include Byrne (R-AL) Clark (D-MA), Ferguson (R-GA), Langevin (D-RI), Nolan (D-MN), and Smucker (R-PA). You’ll recall that AASA endorsed the 2016 version of the bill (here’s a good run down of that bill). Key changes in the 2017 version (H/T EdWeek):

• States have to set performance targets based on the process in their state plans.

• The bill says that two accountability indicators in the bill, those for “nontraditional” students and for program quality, now only apply to CTE “concentrators” who have taken two sequential CTE courses of study. In general, the bill defines CTE concentrators as those students who have “completed three or more career and technical education courses, or completed at least two courses in [a] single career and technical education program or program of study.”

• Maintenance-of-effort language has been changed that would now allow states to decrease their CTE funding by 10 percent in the year immediately following implementation of the new Perkins law. The U.S. secretary of education now has 120 days to review the plans, not 90 as in last year’s bill. School Nutrition: Earlier this week, US Dept of Agriculture announced a partial rollback of regulations on the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act, including delaying or weakening restrictions on salt and requirements for whole grains. This is a set of regulatory relief AASA has long championed. Check out Leslie’s blog post. Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act: SRS/Forest Counties was NOT included in the FY17 funding bill. Your advocacy is working though because there is now Senate language to reauthorize the program. Sens. Hatch and Wyden introduced a bill to reauthorize the program for two years. Other Senators supporting the legislation include Crapo, Cantwell, Risch, Heinrich, Daines, Manchin, Gardner, Feinstein, Murkowksi, Sullivan, Tester, and Bennet.

WE MUST KEEP THE PRESSSURE ON CONGRESS TO ACT.

Here is our call to action AND a recent social media campaign. Here’s a bulleted list of what’s in the bill:

• Reauthorizes SRS payments for 2 years—retroactively, to make counties whole for their FY2016 payments and FY2017 (payment goes out in 2018);

• Clarifies the use of unelected title II funds;

• Eliminates the merchantable timber pilot requirement (note: this was never implemented by the Forest Service, and the Forest Service support its deletion);

• Clarifies, through a technical fix, the availability of funds per section 207(d)(2);

• Extends the time available to initiate title II projects and obligate funds for the 2-year reauthorization;

• Title II and III Elections: For the 2-Year reauthorization, there won’t be enough time to go through the administrative process of the counties changing their elections and still getting their payments on time, so for reauthorization, the counties have to stick with their current elections.

• Executive Order on Federal Overreach (Regulations) in Education: President Trump signed an executive order (read it here) that directs USED and Secretary DeVos to study “where the federal government has unlawfully overstepped on state and local control.” Given the restrictions on federal authority in ESSA, the executive order has for the most part been perceived as more symbolic than substantive, at least on first impression.

Director Events from Last Week
May 1, Ed Issues Call
May 1, Send out Request for WiRSA Conference Proposals
May 3, CESA 7 PAC
May 4, Meeting with Senator Bewley
May 4, Meeting with Gary Bennet from UW Recovery Charter School Initiative

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
May 8, ECCP Policy Discussion at DPI
May 8, Ed Issues Call
May 9, Conference Call with Robin Fox from UWW School of Education
May 10, Florence Technology Fair

Rural School Awards
The WiRSA Rural Awards are a great way to recognize the great people you have in your district for the outstanding things that they do for your school district and rural education. Now is a great time to start thinking about nominees for the 2017 WiRSA Rural Awards. More information here.

2017 WiRSA Conference Save the Date
The 2017 WiRSA Conference will be held Oct. 30-31 at the Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells. Please note the date and location change for this year.

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
WiRSA Scholarships
2017 WiRSA Rural Awards
2017 WiRSA Conference save the date – Oct. 30-31 Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells
School Funding Reform for Wisconsin
ESEA Information and more here.
ESSA Overview Video – Narrated PowerPoint – This information is also available off the ESEA web page on the DPI site.
Into the Outdoors – Free Classroom Resources
Meemic Foundation Grants for Teachers
2017 AHEC Summer Health Camps

Have A Great Week!